DENVER (AP) – Colorado prosecutors will have new criminal penalties to charge people accused of injuring pregnant women and causing them to lose their child in cases of domestic violence or car accidents.

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the bill into law Wednesday.

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The measure creates new felony charges for unlawful termination of a pregnancy. Most states have laws specifically dealing with how to punish people who harm pregnant women, resulting in the loss of a fetus.

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Lawmakers have debated proposals in recent years but have deadlocked over arguments about abortion. Democrats controlled both legislative chambers this year and easily passed the bill.

Republicans say there should also be penalties in place for offenses against fetuses. Supporters of the bill argued the intent was to give prosecutors tools to punish crimes against pregnant women.

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